In a time of revolution and unrest, young Ichimura Tetsunosuke has but one goal: to become a member of the elite Shinsengumi to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of the Choushuu clan. His brother has already been accepted into their ranks, but Tetsunosuke desperately wishes to prove himself and become strong enough to take his revenge. One day he gets his chance to enlist by a test of his swordsmanship skills, but his fight will be against the first division captain, Okita Souji. Will Tetsunosuke survive the contest, much less be allowed to join the Shinsengumi?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Somewhat true to history; attention to characters
Lows: Pointless subplot detracts from characters and realism
A series set in the time period of the Bakumatsu no Doran with characters named Okita, Sanosuke and Saitoh… and it’s not Rurouni Kenshin? While the comparison is inevitable, Peace Maker Kurogane is its own anime with an extended foundation in the history of the Shinsengumi. If not for wasting time on a pointless, unrealistic subplot, this anime could have been a worthy rival for Rurouni Kenshin.
Peace Maker Kurogane is equal parts historical drama and comedy, and at the end of the series showcases high-energy action scenes based around the events of the raid at the Ikeda-ya Inn. Almost all of the characters are based on the actual members and officers of the Shinsengumi, with some poetic license for their personalities and a decent amount of time exploring the main characters. Tetsunosuke in particular is an emotional and sympathetic character who grows beyond the typical “I want to be stronger!” personality type he starts the series with.
With this deliberate effort for realism in the characters and events, the supernatural subplot added to the middle of the series sticks out like a sore thumb. With zombies, magic and more, the story takes an odd turn into unrealistic territory that serves no purpose in the overall plot. This time could have been used to explore the much more fascinating subplot of the relationship between Suzu and Tetsunosuke; the unlikely friendship between a Shinsengumi page and a Choushuu loyalist would have added depth to both the characters and the plot. The ending leaves their relationship unresolved, so perhaps a sequel to the series will be created to make up for the time the other subplot wasted.
History buffs and Kenshin fans who are looking for their favorite Shinsengumi member will definitely get more out of this series than a viewer getting their first taste of the time period. If you enjoyed seeing one side of the Bakumatsu no Doran, Peace Maker Kurogane will show you the other side of the rebellion and give you some sympathy for the Shinsengumi… a hard task to accomplish.